Do you believe in karma?
I am not one to wish ill-will upon anybody, and I do not wish for anyone to get sick. The last thing I want is for people to get sick from food that they have eaten. And when someone gets sick from eating food in the United States, home of the safest and most abundant food supply in the world, it shines a poor light on the entire food chain.
But stuff happens. And what happened recently, is that Chipotle Mexican Grill, the purveyor of “Food with Integrity,” got hit with a rash of E. coli that as of Nov. 4 had caused 41 cases of the illness in Oregon and Washington, sending a dozen people to hospitals. This outbreak also forced the chain to close 43 restaurants in the two West Coast states.
According to media reports this week, the specific microorganism (Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26) responsible had been identified, and now officials are trying to pinpoint which specific ingredient carried the bacteria into the restaurants with the reputation of fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
Well, as you may recall, Chipotle’s definition of “local” has been broadened, as has their definition of antibiotic-free.
Chipotle started buying pork from a British pork supplier. I guess that’s local, if you live in the European Union. The reason they started to buy their pork from Karro (the British company) was because the Denver, Colo.,-based restaurant company could not find enough U.S. pork that was being raised in the company’s holier-than-thou standards.
One of those standards had been the vow to serve antibiotic-free meats. After getting some heat, a Chipotle spokesperson admitted that Karros does indeed use antibiotics “when necessary to keep an animal healthy.”
Now after the summer of Chipotle backpedaling from their buy-local, antibiotic-free stands, they get his with broad-reaching E. coli outbreak.
Again, not that I wish ill-will on anyone or any business, but it seems karma may be at work here.